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distinct understanding with his Britannick majesty's government, without requiring it to be formal, concerning impressment, comprising in it the discharge of the citizens of the United States already impressed, and concerning future blockades, the revocation of the orders in council being confirmed.
Your lordship is aware that the power of the government of the United States to prohibit the employment of British seamen must be exercised in the sense and spirit of the constitution ; but there is no reason to doubt but that it will be so exercised effectually, and with good faith.
Such a measure might, by suitable regulations and penalties, be made completely
effectual and satisfactory, and would operate almost exclusively in favour of Great Britain, for as few American seamen ever enter voluntarily into the British service, the reciprocity would be nominal, and it is sincerely believed that it would be more than an equivalent for any advantage she may derive from impressment.
By the proposition which I have now the honour to make in behalf of my government, your lordship will perceive the earnest desire of the President to remove every obstacle to an accommodation, which consists merely of form, and to secure the rights and interests of the United States in a manner the most satisfactory and honourable to Great Britain as well as to America.
The importance of the overture now made, will, I trust obtain for it the early consideration of his royal highness the prince regent, and I shall detain the vessel in which I have taken my passage to the United States until I have the honour to learn his decision. I have the honour to be, &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Hamilton to Mr. Russell. Foreign Office, September
16, 1812. Dear sir,- have not seen lord Castlereagh since his receipt of your two letters of the
but have received his directions to say to you, that he is concerned
that he cannot have it in his power to reply to them for a few days; or would have had much pleasure in attending immediately to your request in that respect. You may be assured that no delay will take place, which can be avoided. I am, dear sir, faithfully yours.
WM. HAMILTON. Jonathan Russell, Esq. &c. &c.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Hamilton. No. 18, Bentinck Street,
September 16, 1812. DEUR SIR, I have learnt with much regret and disappointment, that lord Castlereagh has directed you to in. form me, that it is not in his power to give an immediate answer to the last letters, which I have had the honour to address to him. The object of those letters was of a nature to require an early decision. Reluctant, however, by any precipitancy on my part to protract the present unhappy relations between the two countries, I beg you to acquaint his lordship, that I shall remain in town until Sunday, (the 20th instant,) when, unless some special and satisfactory reason be assigned for a longer delay, I shall consider it to be my duty to proceed to Plymouth to embark for the United States.
JONA. RUSSELL. William Hamilton, Esq. &c. &c.
N. B. Sent at 3 o'clock.
LORD CASTLEREAGH presents his compliments to Mr. Russell, and requests to have the honour of seeing him at his house in St. James' square, at nine o'clock this evening. Foreign Office, September 16, 1812.
N. B. Received a little before 5 o'clock.
Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Russell. Foreign Office, Sept.
18, 1812. SIR,-Under the explanations you have afforded me, of the nature of the instructions which you have received from your government, I have, as on the preceding occasion, been induced to lay your letter of the 12th instant, before his royal highness the prince regent.
His royal highness commands me to express to you his regret, that he cannot perceive any substantial difference between the proposition for a suspension of hostilities, which you are now directed to make, and that which was contained in your letter of the 24th of August last. The form of the proposed arrangement, it is true, is different; but it only appears to aim at executing the same purpose, in a more covert, and therefore, in a more objectionable manner.
You are now directed to require, as preliminary to a suspension of hostilities, a clear and distinct understanding, without, however, requiring it to be formal on all the points referred to in your former proposition; it is obvious, that were this proposal acceded to, the discussion on the several points must substantially precede the understanding required.
This course of proceeding, as bearing on the face of it a character of disguise, is not only felt to be in principle inadmissible, but as unlikely to lead in practice to any advantageous result, as it does not appear on the important subject of impressment, that you are either authorized to propose any specifick plan, with reference to which the suspension of that practice could be made a subject of deliberation, or that you have received any instructions for the guidance of your conduct on some of the leading principles, which such a discussion must in the first instance involve.
Under these circumstances the prince regent sincerely laments, that he does not feel himself enabled to depart from the decision, which I was directed to convey to you in my letter of the 2d instant.
I have the honour, &c.
CASTLEREAGII. Jona. Russell, Esq. &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe. London, September 19,
1812. Sir,—Since writing you this morning, fearing that this government should infer from my silence, an acquiescence in the strange and unwarrantable view which lord Castlereagh has in his last note thought fit to take of the overtures which I have submitted, and of the powers under which I acted, I have considered it my duty to return an answer, of which the enclosed is a copy, With great consideration and respect, I am, sir, &c.
JONA. RUSSELL. Hon. James Monroe, &c. &c.
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. London, September
19, 1812. MY LORD, --I had the honour to receive last evening your lordship's note of yesterday, and have learnt with great regret and disappointment, that his royal highness the prince regent has again rejected the just and moderate propositions for a suspension of hostilities, which I have been instructed to present on the part of my government.
After the verbal explanations which I had the honour to afford your lordship on the 16th instant, both as to the object and sufficiency of my instructions, I did not expect to hear repeated any objections on these points. For itself, the American government has nothing to disguise, and by varying the proposition as to the manner of coming to a preliminary understanding, it merely intended to leave to the British government, that which might be most congenial to its feelings. The propositions presented by me, however, on the 24th August, and 12th instant, are distinguishable by a diversity in the substance, as well as in the mode of the object which they embraced; as by the former, the discontinuance of the practice of impressment was to be immediate, and to precede the prohibitory law of the United States, relative to the employment of British scamen ; when by the latter both these measures are deferred to take effect simultaneously hereafter. Having made
a precise tender of such law, and exhibited the instructions which warranted it to your lordship, I have learnt with surprise, that it does not appear to your lordship, that I am authorized to propose any specifick plan on the subject of impressment. I still hope that the overtures made by me, may again be taken into consideration by his Britannick majesty's government, and as I leave town this afternoon for the United States, that it will authorize some agent to proceed thither, and adopt them as a basis for reconciliation between the two countries, an event so devoutly to be wished. I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe. On board the Lark, Noo.
7, 1812. Private.)
Sur,-I have the honour to inform you that I am now passing the Narrows, and expect to land at New York this day. I conceive it to be my duty to repair to the seat of government, and shall set off as soon as I can obtain my baggage. In the mean time I am sorry to inform you
that the second proposition for an armistice was rejected like the first, and a vigorous prosecution of the war appears to be the only honourable alternative left to us. I have the honour to be, &c.
JONA. RUSSELL. Hon. James Monroe, &c. &c. &c.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO CON
GRESS. Nov. 17, 1812. I TRANSMIT to Congress copies of a letter from the consul general of the United States to Algiers, stating the circumstances preceding and attending his departure from